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Yas Marina: Abu Dhabi’s new health destination

posted on 21/08/2014

Whether you are a die-hard gym freak, a regular fitness enthusiast or even a watersport junkie or a beauty buff, Yas Marina is the place to be.

With an impressive set of world class facilities offering beauty, sports, health fitness options, the place is fast developing as an ultimate fitness and lifestyle destination in Abu Dhabi.

Vogue Fitness, NuYou Spa, Watercooled and Bounceback are some of the names that lend credibility to that claim.

For instance, Vogue Fitness has launched fully functional outdoor training sessions with adrenaline-fuelled fitness sessions in the surroundings of Yas Marina. If you believe that outdoor workouts are much more fun and push your limits, Vogue Fitness is offering a First Session Free promotion giving residents and tourists an opportunity to try out the sessions and amenities before signing onto a full membership.

The centre's indoor facility also offers a range of services such as sports massages, corporate fitness packages, personal training, kid's fitness, gym membership and a host of other fitness regimes.

And if you are looking for adrenaline-rush water sports, you need not go far. Watercooled, Yas Marina's watersports operator, has an array of activities such as wakeboarding, water skiing, Zapcat thrill rides, Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) yoga, kayaking, as well as weekly water ski and SUP fitness classes. This is in addition to the boot camp that promises a high intensity workout in the promenade area.

Emma Thompson, a British expat and mother of two, said her family loves the facilities at Yas Marina. "We are regulars at the Island. It is a perfect family destination for us because our kids have loads of fun activities, while my husband and I get to focus on fitness training,” said Thompson.

Another great attraction is Bounceback, a fully comprehensive physiotherapy and rehabilitation service.

Physiotherapists here have extensive experience and are trained to provide a variety of treatments such as the McKenzie method, clinical Pilates and acupuncture that treat neck pain, sport injuries, and pre and post natal pains, to name a few. There are also specialists to treat golf-related injuries and help improve swing mechanics.

"It is good news for sportsmen and women in Abu Dhabi,” said Martin White, an Australian cycling enthusiast living in Abu Dhabi.

"It's great to have a physiotherapy centre at the very hub of activities – convenient and very thoughtful,” he added.

Yas Marina has also spruced up its beauty quotient with the introduction of NuYu, a rejuvenating spa, slimming and tanning centre.

NuYou also has a range slimming treatments, from body wraps and wellness classes to body composition, which can be tailor-made to suit individual needs.

Cedric Le Rest, general manager of Yas Marina, said the launch of the new fitness amenities after summer comes at a time when getting back in shape is at the forefront of everybody's mind. "Since the reopening of the Marina in October 2013 with the additional restaurants, facilities and activities, Yas Marina has also become a popular dining and entertainment destination. With this in mind, I'm excited to announce the second phase, which is to position Yas Marina as a truly integrated lifestyle as well as fitness destination,” added Rest. – Gulf News -


Twofour54 partners with FGB Arena for film and TV productions

posted on 21/08/2014

Twofour54, the commercial arm of the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi, has entered into a partnership with First Gulf Bank Arena (FGBA) to promote and utilise the venue for TV and film projects in the Emirate.

FGBA is the latest addition to twofour54 intaj's growing list of production locations and will be the venue for the MBC Action's Desert Force mixed martial arts (MMA) championship being held in Abu Dhabi for the first time on August 25. As part of the agreement, twofour54 intaj will provide full production services for the venue including the use of nine HD cameras, mobile studio equipment, post production facilities and crew on an on-going basis.

Jamal Al Awadhi, Head of Commercial, twofour54 intaj, said, "twofour54 is proud to assist in growing the Abu Dhabi film and TV sector and by partnering with FGBA, there are tremendous opportunities for production companies and support services to benefit from having this venue as a filming location. For this event, our team along with MBC's production team will work closely to manage all aspects of the production including lighting, audio and filming; ensuring all the excitement of Desert Force is captured in the best high definition quality.

"Desert Force is just the first in a long list of productions that will now be held at FGBA and we look forward to working with them on a variety of exciting shows ranging from light entertainment shows to high-octane events" The FGBA 6,000 seat multipurpose indoor stadium is the size of three basketball courts and is located at Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi. The arena, which officially opened its doors to the public in February 2014, has since managed to host several successful events such as the Ragheb Alama concert, The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, and Fatima Bint Mubarak's First International Basketball tournament.

FGB Arena's General Manager Rainer Schueler, "We are extremely delighted with our partnership with twofour54 intaj. Working closely with them as our new strategic TV and production partner we will benefit from their extensive regional and international experience and will provide us with the opportunity to utilise our venue for major TV and film productions in Abu Dhabi.

The MBC Action's Desert Force MMA Championship is the first Middle Eastern Platform for aspiring MMA athletes to face-off against regional and international fighters for the title of Middle East Desert Force Champion. Previously held in other Arab cities, such as Amman, Jordan, and Manama, Bahrain, the event aims to promote Arab mixed martial artists by providing them with the opportunity to showcase their skills on a weekly TV series aired on MBC Action.

Desert Force will be broadcast live on MBC Action and will showcase the middle weight title fight between Abdallah Abou Hamdan from Lebanon and Ibrahim El Sawi from Egypt. The fight card also features Emirati fighter, Mohammad Yahya, Qatari Ali Al Naemi as well as two U.A.E.-based martial arts instructors. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Sharjah’s beach hotels record 80% occupancy rate in H1 of the year

posted on 21/08/2014

Hotels and beach resorts across Sharjah have been witnessing a heavy turnout of international tourists and visitors, from amateur water sports and leisure enthusiasts to families seeking rest and relaxation on the shores of the picturesque emirate offering views of both the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. High-end luxury hotels and resorts offering top-notch, world-class services are conveniently located along the coast and across the emirate.

Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Director General, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, said, "The heavy turnout at beach hotels and resorts in the emirate has exceeded expectations. According to the SCTDA statistics, guests at these special beach hotel facilities had swelled to more than 180,000 during the first half of this year registering 80% occupancy rates." Al Midfa, said, "Numerous cultural, artistic, entertainment and shopping festivals hosted by Sharjah, not to mention special promotions offered by major malls and shopping centres since the beginning of the year, have added to the emirate's attractions in the eyes of visitors. He drew attention to the fact that hotels in the emirate had been encouraged by the Authority to offer special concessional rates to both visitors and residents." Referring to the growing popularity of beach tourism, Al Midfa, said, "Sharjah is the only emirate that offers access to the coasts of both the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman." He said, "Sharjah is keen to build more world-class hotel facilities and tourist facilities with the highest standards of safety and best of leisure, water sports and recreational activities, putting the emirate among the top beach tourism destinations in the region." The Europeans formed the largest segment of Sharjah's tourists who stayed at the beach hotels during the first half of this year. They were followed by GCC tourists.

Sharjah is an ideal beach tourism destination both for the country's residents and international tourists who head to the Emirate especially during the summer season and prefer to spend their holidays in hotels.

With the emirate hosting several special events and activities during the long summer months, there are expectations of a further increase in the number of tourists this holiday season. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Over Dh500,000 are to be won at Adihex this year

posted on 21/08/2014

In less than two weeks, entries for this year's Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (Adihex) competition will close.

Reaching its 12th year, Adihex will take place from September 10 to 13 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. To celebrate its dozen editions, there will be a matching dozen heritage activities. These include traditional performances, equestrian shows, hunting and prey demonstrations, camel auction, Nabati poetry, a heritage village with live handicrafts making, Emirati children games and all heritage related competitions.

The Emirates Falconers Club and the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee in Abu Dhabi, who organise the event, will give away over Dh500,000 to the winners of Nabati poetry, Arabic coffee brewing, photography, painting, best looking falcons and best looking saluki competitions.

Photography and painting are among Adihex's oldest and most popular competitions. According to Abdullah Al Qubaisi, director of Adihex, they are open to anyone from anywhere in the world and the only condition is that they have to depict an Emirati hunting, equestrian or general heritage scene.

There is only one artwork allowed per participant of maximum 120 cm x 80 cm size for the painting and 42 cm x 30 cm for the photograph, which should be submitted on a CD in JPG format, and the quality should be no less than 300 DPI.

Deadline for U.A.E. residents is August 28, while submissions coming from oversees will be accepted until September 7.

The falcon, saluki and Arabic coffee competitions will remain open until the day of the competition, as many participants sign up on the spot. So far 120 U.A.E. firms have booked a spot at this year's exhibition. – Khaleej Times -§ion=nationgeneral


David Blaine to make Middle East debut in Abu Dhabi

posted on 21/08/2014

Renowned illusionist David Blaine will make his Middle East debut in Abu Dhabi today. Organised by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and Flash Entertainment, the ‘David Blaine: Real or Illusion?' show will be held at the Emirates Palace until August 23, as part of the Summer Abu Dhabi festival.

For three death-defying nights, the live show will feature a slew of tricks and endurance that have blown the minds of thousands of people around the world.

A New York magician, illusionist and endurance artist, Blaine is among the world's best at what he does. He started in the 1990s with street magic, quickly conquering audiences at home and abroad, and moved on to daring, death defying acts.

In 1999, he locked himself in a cramped plastic coffin submerged in a three tonne-water tank for seven days, eating nothing and drinking a maximum of three tablespoons of water per day.

In 2002, despite cold, strong winds, he turned himself into a statue, being airlifted by a crane onto a narrow, half-metre long platform, on top of a 30 metre-high pillar. Blaine stood there, without any safety harnesses for 35 hours.

For the Emirates Palace show, he has promised "brand new acts”. – Khaleej Times -§ion=entertainmentnation


Dubai’s retail sector to hit Dh150 billion by year-end

posted on 21/08/2014

Dubai's retail sector will be worth a phenomenal Dhs150 billion by the end of this year as the emirate's households shopping power is on the rise with positive economic indicators and strong rebound in tourism and hospitality sector, according to reports.

According to the latest data from Colliers International, Dubai's households spend between Dh37,000 and Dh85,000 each year. However, the average spending power of US$14,400 (about Dh53,000) per household per year has seen the retail sector riding a wave of growth to reach record figures.

The city is now rivalling established global shopping hotspots like London, Milan, New York and Sydney, with the U.A.E. now ranked as the world's fourth most attractive retail destination in AT Kearney's latest global index. Business Monitor International (BMI) is projecting that Dubai's retail sector will reach Dhs150 billion mark by the end of this year.

Dubai Economic Council also estimates the city's retail sector to have become as big as the financial and real estate sectors in terms of value.

The retail revolution is set to intensify, as Dubai welcomes 25 million visitors in the build-up to World Expo 2020. As part of this long-term view, The Galleria Mall's sister development, The Galleria Villas offers upmarket residences near the mall in close proximity to Dubai's golden beachfront, with both developments totalling 324,300 square feet.

Shahab Lutfi, founder and chief executive of The Galleria Mall's developers H&H Investment & Development, said the Galleria Mall and Villas is a fresh concept based on family quality time, in Dubai's trendy suburb of Jumeirah Beach. The attractions are as diverse as Dubai's multicultural population.

"By bringing famous global brands here, we are bringing the world to Dubai and helping to make our city the world's undisputed shopping paradise.”

Commenting on what Dubai's shoppers and tourists can expect, Shahab Lutfi said it's no longer enough to simply have a massive mall, because the quality of the visitors' experience is equally as important as the quantity of attractions.

"From the beautiful setting to the convenient parking and intimate family-friendly atmosphere, The Galleria Mall is helping Dubai to raise the bar in retail therapy. With even more shops opening soon, we are living up to our promise that this is truly where you belong.”

At a recent event, CBRE Middle East managing director Nick Maclean said Dubai's success in retaining its position as the second most important city in terms of international retailer presence underpins its status as a regional hub for business and tourism.

"The retail sector remains one of the most vital streams for economic activity in the emirate and the industry is likely to witness significant growth in the lead up to Expo 2020 in six years' time,” he said. – Khaleej Times -§ion=uaebusiness


SEHA scoops Adam Smith’s Middle East Regional Award for Best Practice

posted on 21/08/2014

The Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) has recently won an Adam Smith's Middle East Regional Award in the Highly Commended category for Best Practice. The prestigious Adam Smith Awards ceremony for 2014 was held at the Plaisterers' Hall in London.

This award was bestowed upon SEHA by Treasury Today magazine, the organisers of the Adam Smith Awards, and finance and capital markets specialists. The honour was awarded in recognition of the transformation achieved by SEHA in their procure-to-pay (P2P) practices, which led to significant savings for the company, and helped establish a basis for further enhancement and automation.

Working closely with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), SEHA achieved this transformation over a period of 18 months during 2013 and 2014. This transformation serves as an exemplar for other leading corporate treasury organisations to consider.

Treasury Today's Adam Smith Awards are the largest corporate treasury Awards programme held anywhere on the planet. The panel of judges looks for solutions that demonstrate best practice and innovation in the corporate treasury arena.

The quality and number of 2014 nominations exceeded all prior years, with 206 nominations from 24 different countries. Now in its seventh year, the Adam Smith Awards have gained global recognition and renown.

Commenting on the winning of this prestigious award, Rashid Al-Qubaisi, Group Chief Financial Officer at SEHA stressed the keenness of the company with regard to the application of best practices in accordance with the highest international standards across all financial, administrative and health sectors.

Bernhard Solleder, Director Group Finance and Business Development at SEHA, who implemented the award winning project with his team and ADCB asserted: "The new system applied comes within the framework of SEHA's orientation for the transformation to e-Government. SEHA is considered to be one of the first government agencies to have applied this e-System within all its HealthSystem facilities. By this, SEHA aims to make it easier for its customers, speed up the implementation of services and responsibilities, and deliver them with precision. This system saves money, time and effort for those working at both SEHA's finance and accounting departments".

Speaking about the award, Howard Gaunt, EVP and General Manager of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and GCC, Wholesale Banking Group, ADCB, stated: "We are pleased to support SEHA in having achieved this landmark recognition. This achievement was the result of a close cooperation between SEHA and ADCB in the area of cash management and banking services. We look forward to achieving further milestones together in the future." Murali Subramanian, EVP and Head Transaction Banking Group, ADCB, added: "It has been a remarkable journey undertaken by SEHA jointly with ADCB over the last 18 months, in automating and streamlining their cash management across the various treasuries within all departments of SEHA. And we are very pleased to have been a part of the journey as a trusted advisor." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


DEWA launches smart initiatives in preparation for Expo 2020 Dubai

posted on 21/08/2014

Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) has launched a number of smart initiatives that confirm its readiness to achieve the Smart Dubai initiative announced by Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to transform Dubai to the smartest city in the world over the next three years through 100 initiatives and 1,000 smart services to enhance the quality of life in Dubai.

DEWA said the Smart Dubai initiative's plan is based on six main sectors that focus on achieving smarter economy, smarter lifestyle, smarter transportation system, smarter governance, smarter environment and smarter generations within 3 main themes, namely: communication, integration and cooperation. The initiative aims at creating a new reality and contributes to achieving a qualitative shift in the services offered to partners and customers. The city's services and facilities will be managed through interconnected smart systems to enhance the quality of life for Dubai's residents and visitors.

DEWA has also outlined its ten year plans for raising its production capacity and is currently upgrading the efficiency and capacity of its infrastructure to generate, transmit and distribute electricity and water to secure the needs of customers, meet the increase in demand for water and electricity, and satisfy requirements for Expo 2020.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA, said, "In support of the wise vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, we have laid out a clear strategy to support Dubai's efforts in hosting Expo 2020. Our plans and preparations include launching smart and pioneering initiatives that create opportunities to support sustainability, which is a main theme on the Expo's agenda. We will focus on diversifying energy and water resources with special focus on smart services and systems." The CEO went on to say that DEWA's strategy is in line with Expo's theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future' and the three subthemes of sustainability, opportunity, and mobility.

"We are committed to fulfil His Highness Sheikh Mohammed's promise to host the best Expo the world has ever seen. Our smart projects and initiatives will help improve the quality of life in the coming years. We will be able to provide our Expo guests with smart services and utilities that meet the highest international standards, and achieve Dubai's objectives to create a better future for its citizens and residents," added Al Tayer. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Empower to kick off operations in region’s first green district cooling facility

posted on 21/08/2014

Empower, a leading district cooling services provider, has begun commissioning the region's first district cooling plant built in line with green building principles. The facility provides 45,000 Refrigeration Tonnes (RT) of cooling services to developments in Dubai's Business Bay, it was announced yesterday.

"The commissioning of the new Business Bay plant is a demonstration of how seriously Empower takes sustainability," said Ahmad Bin Shafar, Chief Executive Officer, Empower. "The facility has been planned according to international and regional benchmarks in sustainability the design is in line with LEED building principles, as well as Dubai Executive Council's directives on environmental sustainability." The plant is Empower's second facility in the Business Bay area and increases the geographic scope of the company to include buildings from Sheikh Zayed Road to Al Khail Road. Construction of plant has been completed in just over a year and includes state of the art infrastructure such as pumps, chillers, water tanks, cooling towers and office space. This is the fastest commissioning of a district cooling facility of its size in the Middle East.

"The completion of the Business Bay plant reflects our continued commitment to providing secure and reliable cooling services to an expanding base of customers," continued Bin Shafar. "This plant will be an integral part of a multi- facility district cooling network in Business Bay. On completion, the Business Bay network will provide residential, retail and commercial real estate developments with up to 300,000 RT of cooling services." At one million RT, Empower operates the world's largest district cooling portfolio. The company's existing network covers landmark real estate developments like Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai International Financial Centre, and Business Bay, among others and is also set to construct the district cooling infrastructure for the upcoming Dubai Design District (d3). – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


ADIPEC 2014 conference sets global platform for meeting world energy needs

posted on 21/08/2014

Meeting the ever-present global energy demand through developments in technology, unconventional resources, and international collaboration, will top the agenda at the largest ever Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC) programme.

ADIPEC 2014 will host more than 400 speakers from 111 organisations, with 84 technical sessions, a strategic programme, and a Middle East Petroleum Club member VIP programme, breaking its previous records with the largest conference to date.

The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) is returning as conference organisers for this year's event, bringing a host of innovators, policymakers and experts to discuss both challenges and opportunities facing the industry over the next 30 years. Driven by population growth and continued economic growth, global energy demand is expected to increase by approximately 35% by 2040, according to latest figures from US-based Exxon Mobil Corp.

Mr Ali Khalifa Al Shamsi, the ADIPEC 2014 Chairman, and Strategy & Coordination Director at the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), said, "The global energy demand is growing as economies prosper. Innovation enables the energy mix to adjust, and to meet resource recovery expectations." "Collaboration and commitment among the stakeholders is vital. Industry events, such as ADIPEC, facilitate creative collaborative ventures. These ventures then increase value along the value chain," he added.

The conference will include an industry-setting strategic programme with a Ministerial Panel Session and two Executive Plenary Sessions that will offer key insights from leading experts on how to enhance energy production by developing sustainable models that meet international, regional or country specific needs.

Breakfast sessions, topical luncheons and four academic sessions are also on the conference agenda, offering experts a platform to share innovative and ground-breaking ideas to meet the world's pressing energy requirements. A VIP programme for industry leaders and policymakers will offer exclusive discussions on the important role of women within the oil and gas sector, and country-specific briefings.

Industry professionals will also have an opportunity to engage in eight panel discussions, covering critical topics that form the pillars of driving and sustaining energy growth. Discussion topics include the importance of on-going research and technology development, the collaboration between national and international oil and gas companies, and the ability for countries to attract and develop a talented workforce for the next three decades.

Experts will shed light on the use of unconventional resources, which comprise almost two-thirds of the world's hydrocarbon resources, as a potentially innovative solution for meeting energy demands. Unconventional resources, such as tight gas, coal bed methane, and shale oil, currently comprise almost two-thirds of the world's hydrocarbon resources. More than half of the world's oil reserves are held in the Middle East, where there is a fast emerging focus on these resources.

Demand for fuels is rising, and that means there is a growing need to find new resources or use new technology to get more out of existing ones," said Musabbeh Al Kaabi, Chief Growth Officer at Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Petroleum. "This is a reality that is of great importance in the Middle East, which has significant untapped potential in unconventional reservoirs," he added.

Improving hydrocarbon recovery and developments in research and technology will also be among the panel discussions at the conference. Hydrocarbons are likely to remain the primary energy needed to meet the growing global energy demand, however the worldwide production of crude oil could potentially drop by nearly 30-40 million barrels per day(B/D) in the next decade due to natural depletion of current fields and lack of new discoveries. It is estimated that an additional 25 million B/D of oil will need to be produced for supply to keep pace with consumption.

Achieving excellence in capital projects, securing energy, and health, safety and environment are also among the eight industry panel discussions taking place at the conference.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, ADIPEC 2014 will be held from 10-13 November 2014 under the theme of "Challenges and Opportunities for the Next 30 Years". ADIPEC 2014 is supported by the Ministry of Energy, ADNOC, and the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Nakheel repays all Dh7.9 billion bank debt – four years ahead of time

posted on 21/08/2014

Dubai developer Nakheel yesterday confirmed the early repayment of its entire Dh 7.9 billion bank debt, nearly four years before the final loan instalment due in March 2018.

Nakheel yesterday issued instructions for Dh5.54 billion to be repaid to lenders on Thursday, 21 August – just six months after its previous early payment of Dh2.35 billion, in February this year. In addition, the company has issued instructions for the interest payment of Dh129 million, covering the six months from 27 February 2014 to 28 August 2014.

Nakheel will pay 31 banks, including 10 from the U.A.E. and 21 from overseas. A total of Dh3.45 billion will go to U.A.E. banks, with Emirates NBD and Dubai Islamic Bank being the biggest beneficiaries. The remaining Dh2.09 billion will be paid to overseas banks.

Nakheel said that the loan repayment, announced in June, is a true testament to the support and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed Al Maktoum and the trust and faith that he and the Government of Dubai placed in the company.

Nakheel also thanked its lenders, investors, business partners and regulatory authorities for their support throughout its financial restructuring exercise and since the implementation of its post-restructuring business plan began in August 2011. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Public bus seat occupancy in Dubai soars to 42.6% in first four months of 2014

posted on 21/08/2014

Public Bus occupancy in Dubai has risen remarkably in the first four months of 2014 to as much as 42.6%, compared with 39.3% posted in the same period last year, recording in the process an improvement rate of 8.5%, thanks to the rising demand for this transit service by various segments of the community.

Dr. Yousef Mohammed Al Ali, CEO of the Public Transport Agency, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said: "Among the key factors triggering the rise in the bus seat occupancy in the Emirate of Dubai is the obvious improvement in the accuracy of bus schedules as on-time arrivals encourage additional numbers of the public to use public buses in travelling to various destinations across the Emirate." "Reviewing the best international practices adopted in this regard, and benchmarking with a host of cities in several of advanced countries such as Germany, France, Finland, Sweden, Britain and the USA, Dubai ranked third worldwide, after Germany and France, in the Public Bus Seat Occupancy rate.

This news undoubtedly constitutes a massive achievement for the Emirate, considering the record time in which it was made compared with a long history of cities in Europe, US, and Japan in the field of public transport," he noted.

"We've adopted several steps to increase seat occupancy of public buses in Dubai including the continuous monitoring of the performance of public bus routes to identify the low occupancy routes, developing appropriate corrective measures for each route to be implemented in the final quarter of 2014, studying new demand areas, and analysing the possibility of increasing bus seats on high demand routes to keep pace with the volume of demand. Moreover, we measure public bus route operation in terms of seat occupancy; which contributes to the optimal distribution of network assets in physical and financial terms as the percentage of bus occupancy is measured by dividing the number of passenger-kilometre by the operational capacity-kilometre," continued Al Ali.

"The RTA is constantly seeking to harness modern technology for the service of mass transit mode users in order to up the quality of passenger services. In this regard the RTA developed the Journey Planner (Wojhati); which is accessible through RTA's website ( or 10 touch screens installed in main stations, enabling riders to plan their daily travels aboard various mass transit means including public buses," added the CEO of RTA Public Transport Agency.

Currently there are 107 bus routes in Dubai comprising Local Routes, Metro Stations Feeder Routes, CBD Routes, Express Routes, and Intercity Routes. The C01 Route, which starts from Dubai International Airport (Terminal3) and reaches the Al Satwa Bus Station, stands out as the busiest public bus route in terms of the number of riders lifted, as this route lifted about 580 thousand riders in July this year. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


300 Emirati’s join the teaching workforce this academic school year

posted on 21/08/2014

The Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) hired 300 new Emirati teachers in addition to 96 Arab expatriate teachers for the 2014-2015 academic school year.

The move comes in line with ADEC's strategic plan to recruit Emirati talents into the teaching field as part of an ambitious agenda to Emiratise the entire teaching community across public schools in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

During her welcoming speech at the Sorbonne University yesterday, Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi, Director General at ADEC, spoke about how honourable "teaching" is as a profession. She explained that it is "the teacher" who helps graduate a dependable and intelligent future workforce.

"We are very proud of our new teachers who have chosen to take up teaching as a profession. It is without doubt that you have made the right choice, and I would like to assure each and every single one of you that you have our full support. ADEC will work with you to make sure that you are not only progressing in your career, but also enjoying your jobs as teachers. Your contribution is the reason why we actually exist to start with, and without you our work cannot be complete. We depend on you and trust that you will serve your country and children in the best possible way," said ADEC's Director General.

During the meeting organised by ADEC to welcome the newly recruited teachers, Dr. Al Qubaisi explained that there are an extra 306 Emirati teachers this year in comparison to last year.

She said: "During the 2013-14 academic school year there were 4,563 Emirati educators including principals, vice principals and teachers. This year there are 4,869 which is an evident improvement. It is also obvious from the numbers that there are more female Emirati's in the education profession than males, with 4,187 females and 682 males in 2014-2015. However there are more males than the last academic year which witnessed 617 males in the education field." As per the 2014-2015 statistics, there are 255 kindergartens to Grade 12 public schools across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi expected to operate, with four new schools open, while four schools have shut down.

Dr. Al Qubaisi highlighted ADEC's various student centred learning initiatives that have been and will remain rolled out in the next few years across public schools with particular emphasis on the New School Model which has introduced a new approach to learning which helps involve students in hands-on activities thus enhancing their creativity and problem solving skills.

The New School Model has been introduced in stages starting with Kindergarten to Grade 3 during the 2010- 2011 academic school years, and is eventually being rolled out to the rest of the grades by 2016. During this academic year, Grade 7 will be added to the model.

As part of the 21st century teaching techniques, teachers are required to treat each individual student based on their areas of strengths, which can be further developed if detected early.

"As educators you are responsible of moving away from the former approach of rote memorisation and supporting the new trend of problem solving and independent thinking. Each individual student has a gift, and it is up to us to realise what this gift is and help enhance it, and to help you achieve that goal, all of our public schools have been newly refurbished and equipped with top notch technology that will cater to your teaching," concluded Dr. Al Qubaissi.

ADEC has allocated approximately 10 to 12 per cent its budget towards offering teachers professional development and training programmes. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Minister of Public works affirms U.A.E.'s keenness on development of integrated infrastructure

posted on 21/08/2014

Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Public Works, has stressed the U.A.E.'s keenness to develop integrated infrastructure of a high degree of quality and efficiency, which achieves aspirations of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members, Rulers of the U.A.E., for sustainable development.

Dr. Belhaif Al Nuaimi made the remarks during his visit to road projects in the Emirate of Umm Al Qaiwain.

The minister emphasised that his ministry's road policy aims to build high quality, efficient road network with strict safety and security requirements to ensure smooth vehicular traffic in compliance with highest international standards in designing and implementation of projects, taking into account the requirements of sustainability and environmental considerations.

Dr. Abdullah Belhaif inspected the project of extension of Emirates Road which runs in parallel with the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road towards the Emirate of Ras Al- Khaimah.

He listened to a detailed explanation about the project from Abdul Rahman Al-Mahmoud, project manager, who said that the project includes the building of a dual carriageway with two lanes in each direction with a length of 16 kilometres. He added that the Dh139 million road is scheduled for completion by the first quarter of 2016. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


ERC delivers medical equipment to Rafik Hariri University Hospital

posted on 21/08/2014

BEIRUT: The Emirates Red Crescent, (ERC) has delivered a new batch medical supplies and equipment to Rafik Hariri University Hospital (RHUH) in Beirut, Lebanon, to help the facility cope with the rising numbers of low-income patients.

This is the second in a series of four batches of medical equipment provided by ERC for the Lebanese hospital.

ERC's medical assistance comes within the framework of an agreement to provide health services to Syrian refugees and displaced and underprivileged families in Lebanon.

In coordination with the U.A.E. Embassy in Lebanon, ERC plans to deliver medicine and other necessary equipment to the hospital.

Humaid Al Shamsi, Deputy Secretary-General of ERC for International Aid, said, "The provision of medical assistance to the hospital demonstrates the authority's eagerness to help our brothers in Lebanon face the intense pressure being put on the health sector there due to the growing numbers of Syrian refugee patients and other vulnerable groups unable to fund treatment." Jasim Al Tunaijai, Director of ERC Projects in Lebanon, said in the next phase, the agency plans to deliver medical supplies to a number of field hospitals in Lebanon.

ERC's assistance for the hospital includes respirators and equipment for neurosurgery, endoscopy, neonatal care and EEG, and operating tables. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Emirates Red Crescent distributes humanitarian aid to displaced Iraqis in Erbil

posted on 21/08/2014

ERBIL: In implementation of the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the orders of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) has started distributing humanitarian aid to displaced people in Iraq's Kurdistan Region.

A delegation from the ERC arrived earlier in Erbil City in coordination with the U.A.E. Consulate to oversee the distribution of aid which will go on for several days and cover different areas of the region.

ERC's food aid for the displaced include food baskets for whole families and special baskets for mothers and children.

ERC delegation has already sent thousands of food baskets to the displaced in Erbil.

In the coming days, ERC is sending more aid to more beneficiaries in other areas of the region. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Al Maktoum Foundation distributes wheat in Africa

posted on 21/08/2014

Al Maktoum Foundation has started distributing 4,446 sacks of wheat to the people hit by war in Sudan and the refugees of Central Africa. The distribution is part of the foundation's Dh60 million budget allotted for charity projects abroad.

According to a senior official, the charity foundation has planted 130,000 acres of fertile agricultural lands in Atbara area to the north of Sudan with wheat this year.

Mohammed Obaid bin Ghannam, secretary-general of Al Maktoum Foundation, on Wednesday told Khaleej Times that the wheat crop this year is being exclusively distributed to the most poor and needy people in unprivileged regions. "The abundant harvest of 130,000 acres planted with wheat in Atbara was delivered to the Islamic Dawah Organisation in Khartoum to distribute to the needy.”

The wheat was planted by the foundation in collaboration with Emirates Rawabi, a leading integrated dairy and poultry products company. "The beneficiaries were very happy about the generous contribution and expressed their deep appreciation to the Al Maktoum Foundation for its kind and constant support.” The foundation has reached out to over 60 countries with its humanitarian initiatives since its inception in 1997.

Dr Mohammed Othman, assistant secretary-general of the Islamic Dawah Organisation, said they have adopted a "perfect plan” to distribute the 4,446 sacks of wheat.

"The long list of beneficiaries includes the people hit by war in Darfur, South Kordofan, as well as the South Sudan refugees of the White Nile State, and the Central African evacuees.”

Education initiatives

Bin Ghannam said the foundation extended its philanthropic activities in Africa to education in implementation of the directives of Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and U.A.E. Minister of Finance.

"Al Maktoum Foundation has so far built 40 secondary schools, colleges and universities in Africa, particularly in Somalia, where over 1,500 students are studying or have already graduated from the colleges of medicine, pharmacy, nursing, engineering, economy, administration and other specialties.”

Top positions are always seized by the students enrolled at the Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum schools, he noted. "This is basically due to the advanced education being offered there.”

Al Maktoum Foundation has donated US$1 million for eradicating the illiteracy of Somali people as per a "lifetime education agreement” recently sealed with the UNESCO in Paris, he added.

"The promising project, which saw the presence of Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid, will provide education to young boys and girls deprived of learning due to the ongoing armed struggle.”

Other programmes

Mirza Hussain Al Sayegh, board member of Al Maktoum Foundation, earlier told Khaleej Times that 60 per cent of the foundation's annual Dh100-million budget is dedicated for programmes abroad. "Hundreds of thousands of people around the world are benefiting from the generous assistance which hit about Dh1.2 billion over the period from 1997 to 2011.”

Al Sayegh pointed out that the foundation's achievements cover education, health, religious programmes, supporting students, sponsoring orphans, assisting special needs people and poor university students.

"Al Maktoum Foundation also sends necessary non-perishable foodstuff, including rice, flour, sugar, tea, macaroni, cooking oil, etc., to deprived regions abroad,” he said, underscoring that they spent Dh50 million in the holy month of Ramadan this year on humanitarian and relief work. – Khaleej Times -§ion=community


U.A.E. Ambassador to Hanoi meets with Vietnamese official

posted on 21/08/2014

HANOI: Khaled Ibrahim Abdul Aziz Shuhail, U.A.E. Ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, yesterday discussed with the Vice Chairwoman of the National Assembly, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, ways to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

During the meeting, which was held at the headquarters of the Vietnamese Parliament, the Vietnamese official expressed her pleasure with the remarkable development in relations between the two countries, emphasising her country's desire to increase cooperation with the U.A.E. in all fields.

She conveyed the greetings of Nguyen Sinh Hùng, Chairman of the National Assembly of Vietnam to Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr, Speaker of Federal National Council (FNC), and extended an invitation to Al Murr to attend the 132 edition of International Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union scheduled to take place on March 2015 in Vietnam.

For his part, Khaled Shuhail conveyed the greetings of Al Murr to Chairman of the National Assembly of Vietnam and congratulated Vietnam for hosting the 132 International Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

At the meeting, the two sides stressed on the need to support and develop bilateral relations between the two countries in various fields. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Western Region Municipality hands keys of 52 houses

posted on 21/08/2014

The Western Region Municipality (WRM) started yesterday handing out keys of new 52 houses to eligible citizens in Al Sila'a.

The civic body said that 384 houses have been delivered to Western Region citizens so far as part of Al Sila'a community development of 448 luxury villas. The Emirati family housing development conforms to the Estidama (sustainability) guidelines of UPC and the Plan Al Gharbia 2030.

Acting Director-General of the WRM Khalifa Al Mansouri said the housing complex carries a social dimension through which planners aim to revive the traditional Emirati neighbourhood concept – known as ‘fareej', which brings together groups of homes that allows Emirati families to live in close proximity to each other to encourage social cohesion, while ensuring family privacy and climate responsiveness through the integration of internal courtyards in the building design.

Weaving homes together with a mix of public amenities such as schools and clinics with shops and parks, through pedestrian-friendly streets that encourage walking and cycling, will create a dynamic, interactive and cohesive atmosphere.

Emirati neighbourhoods that fuse traditional living arrangements with contemporary design will be implemented in a number of revitalisation projects across the Emirate. This will showcase the benefits of merging the old with the new to create high-quality homes and attractive, safe and vibrant neighbourhoods.

Al Mansouri added that the new houses had been constructed in implementation of instructions given by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and directives of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, and close follow up of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region.

Spanning 582 square metres, each two-storey residential unit contains five master bed rooms and other modern amenities.

He added that through these safe, fully-serviced and high-end housing projects the government seeks to develop multiple housing options for future Emirati generations and preserve and promote the traditional Emirati identity and preferred style of living. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –